My tutors had allowed me to use one of the small upstairs rooms in PCA’s Studio 11. The room was quite small at approximately 2.5m by 1.85m, however I felt this would be adequate for my installation and would give a more intimate, secure environment and less intimidating than a large open space.
I decided to repaint all of the walls white because although the room would be unlit (allowing the projected film to be easily viewed), it would still be light enough for the table and chairs to be visible.
I also filled and sanded any gaps, covered any unused plug sockets with masking tape and painted and cleaned off the ceiling tiles. I was happy with the standard ceiling tiles being present because they were something you would possibly find in a classroom anyway.
There was a problem with the floor as there was a stain which kept reappearing after paint application. I thought about possible ways to get around the stained floor – one of which was to put down a carpet. The carpet would be the kind of cheap, rough, corded, primary coloured carpet one might find in a classroom. I thought this would again help to set the mood of the installation in that the audience would hopefully recognize the type of carpet used and perceive it to being classroom/school related.
After pricing up carpet I realized that I would have to get a much larger amount than required because it came on a 4m roll and would prove more costly than anticipated. Also, I considered whether the use of a brand new carpet would compliment the older desk and chairs. I decided not to use carpet after all and instead painted the floor grey. The grey floor worked well and gave a stone or concrete affect which I was happy with and reminded of visiting historical villages and estates where there would be small classrooms with old wooden furniture and cold stone flooring.
With regard to the desk and chairs, I placed the desk in the far left corner at an angle. I didn’t want it to be typically forward facing as it would be in a classroom. Instead, I wanted the desk to take on a sense of animism – to become a living soul so to speak even though it was an inanimate object. The desk already had a sense of history and with its original scribbles and etchings from children over the last few decades (1950s desk). My view of the desk was that it had ‘lived’ through many childhood experiences and possibly held the secrets and stories of the children who had sat at this desk and placed their belongings inside. I angled the desk in the corner to give a sense of vulnerability and thought this could be comparable to a child being asked to stand in the corner of the class after misbehaving.
The two school chairs were placed at the opposite wall/corner to the desk to allow for two audience members to sit and watch the film if they wished to do so. The chairs seemed to be for older children, whereas the desk seemed to be for infants. I felt this would work well, as it would again give the desk a sense of vulnerability when compared to the larger school chairs and the audience looking on.
Below is a rough plan I drew out to give an idea of how the room would be set up (drawn to scale). As one can see, the electric socket was on the back wall. I had to use grips to hold the white extension cable in place along the right-hand wall to the projector. The cable was slightly visible but not distracting, however the smaller cable of the projector was black and quite noticeable – I may paint this white for PCA’s summer show.